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In Houston, Authorities Are Toughening Penalties As Warning To Would-Be Looters

A military automobile patrols in downtown Houston on Wednesday following a initial night of curfew after Harvey caused complicated flooding in a city.

Mark Ralston /AFP/Getty Images


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Mark Ralston /AFP/Getty Images

A military automobile patrols in downtown Houston on Wednesday following a initial night of curfew after Harvey caused complicated flooding in a city.

Mark Ralston /AFP/Getty Images

In flooded Houston, with scores of businesses sealed and homes evacuated, authorities are promulgation a summary to those meditative of looting or price-gouging: Taking advantage of a conditions won’t be tolerated.

Police are beefing adult confidence in a arise of Hurricane Harvey over reports of looting. That includes commanding a curfew and stiffening penalties for crimes committed in a stricken area.

“We’re city that is about diversity, and opportunity, and all kinds of justice,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters during a news discussion Tuesday. “But we’re not a city that’s going to endure people victimizing people that are during a lowest prove in their life.”

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Acevedo pronounced additional military officers were streamer into a Houston area, and described a curfew as a “tool to consider a intentions of people that are out there.”

Mayor Sylvester Turner settled that a midnight to 5 a.m. curfew is dictated to forestall rapist activity. It “exempts inundate service volunteers, those seeking shelter, initial responders, and those going to and from work.”

It’s not transparent how many rapist incidents have occurred in areas strike by flooding, and a military arch declined to yield statistics. “I don’t have a numbers. we can usually tell we … we’re snapping it in a bud,” Acevedo said.

Fourteen people indicted of looting were arrested in a past 48 hours, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg pronounced in a matter expelled Tuesday. They will face “heftier penalties” if found to have damaged a law in a disaster area. Burglarizing a home could meant life in prison.

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“People replaced or spoiled in this charge are not going to be easy prey,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said. “Anyone who tries to take advantage of this charge to mangle into homes or businesses should know that they are going to feel a full weight of a law. … Offenders will be processed around a time though delay.”

Texas law states that certain crimes move harsher sentences “if they are committed in a county announced a disaster area by a governor,” Ogg said. “Burglarizing a home would routinely move a chastisement of dual to 20 years in prison, though now brings 5 years to life.”

Federal authorities are also warning about reports of people impersonating sovereign agents. Dressed as Homeland Security Investigations agents, they are “knocking on doors in a Houston area revelation residents to leave — presumably so these imposters can sack a dull homes,” according to a Homeland Security statement.

Authorities highlight that legitimate agents will wear badges, and advise that “members of a open who accept such visitors should ask to see these scrupulously labeled badges, and their credentials.”

The Houston Chronicle reports that justice annals prove that late Monday, military arrested a organisation of people allegedly violation into a wine store, and another organisation in a “suspicious pickup truck” during a selling center.

There have also been reports of cost gouging. According to The Associated Press, a state’s profession ubiquitous has perceived complaints of “loaves of bread offering for $15, fuel for $100 a gallon and hotels lifting room rates.”

At a news discussion Wednesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott emphasized that “price gouging is not usually reprehensible, it’s illegal.”

He added: “Understand this: if we cost tool anybody, we could be theme to penalties of adult to $25,000 per incident. If you’re a business, we can be put out of business by a Texas profession ubiquitous if we brave try any cost gouging.”